Tourism Minister Highlights Ocho Rios Seafood Festival

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival represents a unique opportunity for Jamaica to make further inroads into the lucrative gastro-tourism market.
  • “Gastronomy is a US$150-billion business across the world. Events like the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival are the perfect fit to draw some of that business to Jamaica, giving us more opportunities to improve the country's earnings and also give tourism another reason to smile,” the minister said.
  • The Ocho Rios Seafood Festival will be held on Tuesday, August 1 (Emancipation Day), at the Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. The event is sponsored by Hah-R-Mony Entertainment, and Marksman.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival represents a unique opportunity for Jamaica to make further inroads into the lucrative gastro-tourism market.

Speaking to JIS News following the press launch of the festival in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on June 22, Mr. Bartlett added that with food festivals now becoming an attractive draw for tourists, the island is now on track to become one of the world’s major gastronomy destinations.

“Gastronomy is a US$150-billion business across the world. Events like the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival are the perfect fit to draw some of that business to Jamaica, giving us more opportunities to improve the country’s earnings and also give tourism another reason to smile,” the minister said.

Mr. Bartlett said he is very impressed with how the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival has broadened its appeal for an international audience, noting that “bringing in reputable chefs from overseas, as well as having an international film crew here to participate in the event, is a big move that will give both the festival and Jamaica a major push globally”.

“The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport are both on board as sponsors, and we see where the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival can also be used as a template for other culinary events that will assist in broadening our gastronomy network,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said that Jamaican food, rum and music are all critical ingredients in the building out of the gastronomy experience, and that the plan is to have food festivals and other culinary events year-round, “giving us that big opportunity to secure a piece of the gastro-tourism pie”.

He pointed out that an enterprise team, led by former President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, has been appointed “as our gastronomy gurus” to put Jamaica on the map as a major gastronomy centre.

For her part, Marketing Manager of the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival, Camille Miller, said the event, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary, has been moving from “strength to strength”, to where it is now one of the premier family-oriented festivals in the country.

“What we have long recognised is that there is a vast market out there for quality events that cater for the entire family. This also rings true for families overseas who want to come to Jamaica for vacation and having an event of this magnitude to look forward to. Since our roll-out in 2007, we have consistently stuck with our family-oriented theme and this is not about to change anytime soon,” she said.

The Ocho Rios Seafood Festival will be held on Tuesday, August 1 (Emancipation Day), at the Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. The event is sponsored by Hah-R-Mony Entertainment, and Marksman.

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